WVU braces for pair of QBs at Kansas State
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Considering the problems West Virginia has had the past two weeks preparing for quarterbacks Bryce Petty of Baylor and Davis Webb of Texas Tech, it would seem to be a Herculean task that lies before them in Kansas State, which offers a “two-headed quarterback monster.”
Petty and Webb led offenses that combined to score 110 points on West Virginia in two games, completing 53 of 75 passes — 70.6 percent — for 809 yards and three touchdowns and but one interception.
But when West Virginia walks on the field at Kansas State on Saturday, it will do so unsure whether the Wildcats will have Daniel Sams, their running quarterback, or Jake Waters, their passing quarterback, at the controls of their spread offense.
A year ago the teams met in West Virginia, and the quarterbacks were front and center. K-State's Collin Klein would account for seven touchdowns in a 55-14 victory over Geno Smith and the Mountaineers.
This season WVU used three quarterbacks before settling on Florida State transfer Clint Trickett.
Sams is the team's leading rusher and third in rushing in the Big 12 with 87 yards per game, while Waters is the fourth-leading passer in the conference at 172.7 yards per game.
This has presented a problem for defenses but may be more of a problem for coach Bill Snyder, who has not yet created an identity for his team.
“Offensively they are kind of searching a little bit because they are dealing with the same thing a lot of teams are dealing with because they are replacing a fantastic quarterback, much like we are, and are trying to figure out who is going to be the guy and how you are going to structure things around him,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said.
That said, Holgorsen senses that Sams is edging in front in the quarterback battle.
“It looks to me like they have been settling in on Sams a little bit. They are two different-type guys; they do different-type schemes with the two of them. We will have to prepare for both.
“Sams presents problems from an athletic point of view. We will have to keep him in check. He will hurt you with his feet.”
WVU has had more success defending quarterbacks who are run oriented rather than the pass-happy variety of quarterback, a trend Snyder couldn't have missed in his film studies, given he had an extra week to prepare due to a bye.
As important as WVU being able to defend K-State's quarterbacks is the Mountaineers' ability to throw the ball against the Wildcats, who stymied Baylor's strong running game last week.
Bob Hertzel is a freelance writer.